Saturday 29 June 2013

Subbuteo catalogue, 1969

Chances are if you lay your hands on any Subbuteo catalogue or poster, its main feature will be the ever-satisfying gallery of team kits for you to ponder over. This booklet, however, took a broader view - to promote Subbuteo as a phenomenon and to inform the public on how Subbuteo football is played.

Inside, the text is as finely honed by marketing experts as anything you'll find today. "Why are Subbuteo Sports Games so successful and popular? The simple answer is that they have been invented to mirror the many-sided attractions of modern sport to perfection. On your table in your home. Competition, enjoyment, skill, thrills... they are all there in miniature."

And so it goes on, telling us how Subbuteo Sports Games have been crafted to perfection as "the result of much thought and experiment over the years" to "represent in a boy's mind his favourite sports stars" and "are not just splendid to look at." If you wonder why Subbuteo is still held in such high regard today, it's because Peter Adolph, the creator of Subbuteo and the man that gave us these quotes, knew it was good all along and was finally confident enough to shout it from the rooftops. In the years that followed, more and more of us bought into the beauty of the game and thus a legend was born - no question.

This booklet helped to create an alluring image for the kids that wanted to play the game. Illustrations of Subbuteo figures standing shoulder to shoulder with smart-dressed smiling boys and their father reinforced the cheery vision of family fun that Adolph was keen to promote. Above them, the various boxed sets gave children something to crave the next time a birthday or Christmas came around. With words like 'Continental' and 'International' emblazoned in big red letters on the front, it was difficult for young kids not to get caught up in the excitement of it all.

For anyone still not aware of how the game was played some 23 years after it was first sold, a basic explanation was provided alongside quote after quote from satisfied customers the world over. "Vancouver Royals 6 Manchester United 2. Well, it looked pretty good on our table, anyway!" said P.N. Calder in Vancouver, Canada.

Although the wide range of team strips were not shown, several pages were dedicated to detailing many of the football accessories that were available to buy. Among them were a track-suited team "ready to run onto the field" but looking more like a band of onesie-wearing pitch invaders and a 'football statuette' on a plinth "in all club colours." As we've mentioned before, not all Subbuteo accessories had much of a purpose, but at least the sense of creativity behind them was never in doubt.

As if the world of Subbuteo soccer wasn't enough, there was also Table Cricket to master too. A picture showing a game in play provided ample proof that Peter Adolph had applied just as much attention to detail as with the football equivalent. Two groundsmen pulling a roller, sightscreens and a fully operational scoreboard were among many items on hand to complete the image of village green perfection in the juvenile mind.

With Rugby and 'Fivesides' (Subbuteo indoor soccer) also mentioned within the pages of this booklet, it seemed there was an entertaining world of sport to be enjoyed at your fingertips if you were a child of the Sixties. Little did anyone know that this was just the start of bigger things to come in the world of Subbuteo.

Friday 28 June 2013

Retro Round-Up: 28 June 2013

What better way to end the week than to rummage around in the bran tub we call 'Football Nostalgia' and pull out a few choice items we've found on the web during the last seven days?

It's what we call The Football Attic 'Retro Round-Up' and it's a service we provide free of charge just because we love you in a very special way.

Two English teams playing each other on foreign soil. These days, we'd call it a 'Game 39' scenario, but Spirit of Mirko reminds us that this sort of thing has been going on for decades...

Southampton fans: What your club manager did before he got to St. Mary's - a story of lank hair and hilarious badges courtesy of Old School Panini...

Ah, how we long for the good old days when 5,000 visiting hooligans wearing the colours of their favourite team were gently escorted by steam locomotive to Hull City's ground... It really did happen (sort of), according to Footysphere...

Long before the Masters series, inter-club five-a-side football meant only one thing - the annual Wembley Arena tournament which Brighton almost won in 1979, according to The Seagull Wrap...

Anyone remember Flik-Shot?  Old Football Games and Got, Not Got need your help to find information on this obscure game given away with Trebor sweets...

Football's a funny old game. One man's downfall can mean another man's triumph, as is capably explained by Soccer Nostalgia...

Rangers return to the world of Subbuteo... what do you mean you didn't know they'd gone? The Scottish Sun explains all...

eBay Auction of the Week: It's Ray Wilkins' number 6 shirt from the friendly match against Argentina in 1980 - the first time Admiral's 'World Cup 82' England kit was worn... and it could be yours for £5,000...

And that reminds us...'ve got until midnight on Sunday 30 June 2013 to vote for your favourite England home kit since 1965. Does the Italia '90 kit light your candle or is it outshone by Alf Ramsey's simple '66 classic? If you haven't already done so, vote now before it's too late!

And if you're in the mood for making your opinion known, why not also vote for the worst thing about modern football? We've finally reached the Final of our competition and we want to know which is worse - 'Greed In General' or 'Rebranding / Ignoring club History'? Visit our Worst of Modern Football page now and tell us what you think!

Thursday 27 June 2013

The Big Match - Opening Titles (Part 1)

Time for another guest post now as David Poza, creator of the epic 'On This Day' series on YouTube that showcases historical football matches for every day of the year, takes us through the ever-changing opening titles from ITV's classic football highlights programme. Here's Part 1...

The Big Match was the famous rival of Match of The Day and during 15 years it featured some of the best opening titles that I have ever seen. The music changed during the years and probably followed the changing times.


The first opening titles are very basic; without much fuss or effort. Just some goals and actions from the last season of the old ATV ‘Star Soccer’ show in London. Very nice to see Leeds United’s goal in the League Cup Final against Arsenal. The longest action shown is the magnificent goal of Bobby Charlton against Spurs, which ends with the commentary of Hugh Johns’ “Oh, a fine goal!”

The music during the next four seasons will be the famous song by Keith Mansfield ‘Young Scene,’ a very catchy song that takes us to the sofa to see… West Ham v QPR for example.


We find the first versions of the opening titles, and these will be a constant in almost every season.

Up to October or November, The Big Match had a very simple intro; some goals from the past season including Neil Young’s goal at the FA Cup Final, Bobby Gould celebrating in the League Cup or a very long individual play that ends in a corner at Stamford Bridge (notice the lack of hoardings at the time).

The transformation is complete when colour arrives at LWT. The problem arrives when the archive team doesn’t have any colour pictures from games covered by ITV. The troubles have a very easy answer: take a bit from World Cup ’66, a bit from Pathé recordings of Chelsea v Arsenal and the European Cup of ’68, and everything will be clear!


Up to three changes to the opening line-up in the first season of the 70’s.

1. From the early season: First color pictures in the archive! It was just like a review of the late season: Rivelino scoring against Uruguay, George Best sent off for Northern Ireland or the Goal of the Season 1970 (George Graham against Palace) are featured.

2. From December to the end of the season: A random selection of bits and pieces from the early season including Jimmy Greaves at West Ham, Rodney Marsh’s magnificent goal against Birmingham, and the banner of THE BIG MATCH showing Gary Sprake in disbelief after another mistake. At the end, another Golden Goal: Johnny Hollins against Arsenal in September.

3. 24 April1971: A one-off title made to celebrate Frank McLintock’s Footballer of The Year Award. He’s seen at Stamford Bridge talking to his team-mates.


The last one to feature Keith Mansfield’s song. It was unaltered until the end of the season except from one fact I will mention later. The titles include some of the most striking pictures so far. Starting with a wrestle at Hull, a Derby player attacking Paddy Crerand (imagine this going backwards and forwards and you get what was funny in those days), George Best humiliating Gordon Banks and finishing with the three winners of the cups making the banner. The variation is the ending, changing Tottenham’s League Cup celebration and Charlie George’s goal at the FA Cup Final the previous year for Stoke’s League Cup final bath and the goal by ’The Old Man,’ George Eastham.


There are three versions of the opening credits during this season. The biggest change was the theme tune. Mansfield was retired and The Big Match saluted a piece made by The Don Harper Orchestra called ‘Cheekybird.’ For most, it was a big change (including me) and more changes happened in the presentation of the opening credits.

During the early season, we saw one of the most bizarre titles of the 70’s. This contained superimposed pictures from various Finals and games, so we can see a vicious foul at the FA Cup Final in 1972 and Denis Law celebrating a goal, all superimposed at the same time.

Then a revamp was needed. Maybe the first set of titles didn’t catch the attention of the audience, so a radical change appeared. With THE BIG MATCH title in front, the two teams that were playing the main match were seen leaving the tunnel behind, and that was during a 2-3 month period. And again there was a need for change… so what better than to go back to the classics: pictures of goals and saves.

In January 1973 we were delighted to see… Gordon Banks’ underwear. Probably not the best beginning for an opening credit, but in my opinion, the song and the pictures chosen were appropriate and caught my attention as soon as I saw them. That included among others, Cyril Knowles’ own goal against Crystal Palace, Peter Lorimer’s screamer at Selhurst Park or Jimmy Hill acting as linesman. Great opening credits indeed.

But things were to change again the following season…

Our thanks go to Jamie Pollob for his guest post. Part 2 of his series 'The Big Match - Opening Titles' will feature here on The Football Attic soon.

If you'd like to share your nostalgia memories with us, why not send your words to us like David did? Just drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com and we'll do the rest!

Tuesday 25 June 2013

The Worst of Modern Football - The Final!

Modern Football? It's terrible, isn't it? Like, really bad! OK, it's not all wrong, but there's a hell of a lot NOT right with it!  But just exactly which part of modern football is the worst, the absolute barrel scraper, the Justin Bieber of football? The Andy Townsend...

And as comedy legend Harry Hill would say, there's only one way to find out!!!

At this point, he'd shout 'Fiiiiiiiiight!' and some low paid TV monkeys would come in dressed as anything from a badger to a hot dog to a pot of Danone yoghurt. But we hold no truck with such fripperies here!

Football and Comedy: The Goodies (1982)

Football and comedy: two worlds that only usually collide whenever someone employs Joe Kinnear, yet hidden away in the depths of our psyche are images and memories we've harvested from decades spent watching the television.

Though we may have forgotten by now, the world of football has featured in many of our favourite comedy TV programmes. Sometimes a mere passing reference (no pun intended) is all we've needed while at other times nothing less than a full blown tribute to the beautiful game was provided for our viewing pleasure.

And that's why The Football Attic feels it necessary to begin this new series where we highlight these funny football memories from the past, no matter how slight or unfunny they may be. To start off, we bring you a bumper post highlighting an entire episode of The Goodies which is jam-packed full of football references from start to finish.

Friday 21 June 2013

Retro Round-Up: 21 June 2013

Whether your week's been good or bad, it always ends well in the world of football nostalgia thanks to The Football Attic's Retro Round-Up!

As ever, we've scoured as much of the web as the 15-minute window in our schedules will allow to bring you the best football nostalgia from the last week. Let's crack on, shall we?

It's been around on the web for a little while now, but Who Ate All The Pies bring us the long-forgotten version of the Match of the Day theme tune (with titles) that was only ever used once. 'Enjoy', if that's the word we're looking for...

The Two Unfortunates have been doing us a great service with their series of 'Hopeless Football League Teams', and here's a well-chosen Premier League addition to the canon - it's the tale of Ipswich's 1994-95 campaign, as told by Gavin Barber...

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.15

Manchester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers (1974):

In the world of international fashion, bright citrus-coloured pants have rarely, if ever, been considered as acceptable. The same can be said of sky blue two-piece outfits with red trimmings.

Luckily the world of football doesn't concern itself with international fashion, and this undoubtedly allowed the 1974 League Cup Final to be one of the most colourful occasions ever seen at Wembley. And that was before the match got started.

As the two teams walked out onto the pitch for the big match, 97,000 fans could have been excused for whipping out their sunglasses and shielding their eyes from the glare.

Monday 17 June 2013

What's the Worst Thing About Modern Football? Semi Finals

It's that crucial moment in any competition - the semi-finals, a time when glory is tantalisingly within reach of those competing entities, a time when fortune favours the brave and losers are forgotten. Well, something like that in any case.

Yes, we're finally down to the last four in our search for The Worst of Modern Football, and thanks to your voting in the last round, they're a fine four to choose from.

You can see the results from Round 3 on our Worst of Modern Football page, but in short you ranked 'Ticket Prices' and 'The Media Love-In With All Things Premier League' as the winners from Group A and 'Greed In General' and 'Rebranding / Ignoring Club History' the winners from Group B. A huge thank you as ever to all of you that voted - we had a great response once again!

Saturday 15 June 2013

Goal Frames We Have Known and Loved: No.1

From time to time, we here at The Football Attic are asked to cover the much overlooked subject of goal frames and goal nets. It's true that those wooden or metal structures into which the ball is eternally struck have evolved and developed in different ways over the years, but it's also true that we've never really bothered to show an interest in the subject.

That will all change now as we start an occasional series where we'll upload a picture and write a few plain words to highlight some truly classic goal frames.

Old Trafford (1978):

Peter Pan Pocket Pop-o-matic Football Game, 1979

Back in the days when a 'handheld device' meant nothing more than a few bits of plastic in a cardboard box, there was the chance to play football on the move - wherever you happened to be. That is, of course, if you had either (a) a healthy imagination or (b) very low expectations.

Following not very hotly on the heels of Pocketeers 'World Cup' in 1975, Peter Pan Playthings, that maker of games such as 'Test Match' and 'Frustration', came up with their Pop-o-Matic Football Game. 'Pop-O-Matic', you'll remember, was that cunningly useful system designed to stop little kiddies losing their dice when playing board games. Never more was it needed than in a game that could conceivably have been played in the back of a car or in the school playground.

Friday 14 June 2013

Retro Round-Up: 14 June 2013

Greetings, retro football lovers, and welcome to another collection of the best football nostalgia stuff we could find on the web this last week. You can thank us later...

Coventry City's future may look a little uncertain at the moment, but the only thing uncertain about its past are some of the players' facial hair, as shown at Old School Panini...

Great players, a great team and a great kit - Netherlands 1974 in all their orange glory over at The Vintage Football Club...

Thursday 13 June 2013

ITV Saturday Soccer Special Annual, 1980

If, as a child, you saw this slim tome in your local bookshop back in 1980, you might have expected it to contain articles about football and ITV’s presentation of it. Sadly for anyone interested in The Big Match or On The Ball, this book featured only one such article, and at no point did it even mention Jim Rosenthal. Devastating as this is, I beg you to read on.

This was, in real terms, a football annual much like those produced by Shoot or Match years ago, but it’s distinction derived from the fact that it was a one-off - published purely to coincide with ITV taking over the prime Saturday night highlights slot from the BBC.

The acquisition of those TV rights came to be known as ‘Snatch of the Day’ as it was the first time the BBC’s Match of the Day had not been bumped from its traditional slot in the schedules. Having finally been given the go-ahead to switch from Sunday afternoons, The Big Match was finally where it wanted to be, and to celebrate, it produced... a children’s football annual.

Monday 10 June 2013

Pirelli slippers ad, 1981

There are times in life when nothing seems to make sense.

Here's an example. What would you get if you combined Pirelli, the renowned maker of Formula 1 car tyres (and all the excitement that motor racing brings) with Kevin Keegan, the ultimate football superstar of the late-1970's and early 1980's? Something epitomising the excitement, glamour and exhilaration of international sport?

No. You'd get a pair of children's slippers, that's what.

Friday 7 June 2013

Retro Round-Up: 7 June 2013

What a week it's been in the world of football nostalgia, but then again, when is it never a bad week in the world of football nostalgia?

To prove the point, here's our selection of the best retro football stuff we could find on the web from the past week or so, starting with something that we just missed out on when we published last week's round-up...

Just what does it take to refresh a team's club badge? Dotmund has the answer in fabulous cartoon form over at Twohundredpercent...

Carlsberg doesn't do 'rolling back the years', but if they did, here's how they'd get the 1998 World Cup team back together again, courtesy of Who Ate All The Pies...

Thursday 6 June 2013

What's the Worst Thing About Modern Football? - Round 3

Yes folks, our quest to establish the worst thing about modern football finds itself with just eight candidates remaining, and once again we're asking you to cast your vote to determine our final four.

As we do so, we'd once again like to say a HUGE thank you to all of you that have taken part in the first two rounds of the competition so far. We received well over 7,000 votes which just goes to show how emotive the whole topic of 'modern football' is for so many of us, so thanks again!

So now it's time for Round 3 - the quarter final stage, if you like - and for this we've randomly drawn the remaining eight candidates into two groups (shown below). All you need to do is vote for the two items in each group that you think epitomise the worst of modern football. Voting for this round closes at midnight on Wednesday 12 June 2013.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

League of Blogs Sticker Album Order Form

The League of Blogs Sticker Albums have been ordered so here's how to get one!

Please fill in the form below and we will contact you to confirm. There's 19 available so we'll contact you if there's been more requests than we have stock available. I've got until the end of this week to order more if needed.

The Sticker Album is 30 pages and comes with all the stickers pre-printed in the book. Anyone ordering one who was part of the League of Blogs will get their own stickers as well, including a proper foil sticker for your badge!

The Sticker Pack consists of all 108 stickers for you to stick in yourself. This includes 54 foil stickers and 54 normal stickers, most of which are double sized.

This is what a foil sticker looks like... tis a true work of art ;-)


Monday 3 June 2013

Football League v Football League of Ireland programme (1965)

There was once a time when the term ‘international football’ meant one of two things. More often than not, it applied to matches where eleven men representing the peak of their country’s footballing ability were pitted against eleven more from a rival country. Sometimes, however, it could be applied to the long forgotten concept of inter-league football.

When national teams had such a wealth of talent that it couldn't all be picked for the same side, it wasn't uncommon for a match to be arranged featuring a selection of players from, say, the English Football League and those playing in a nearby league, often Scotland, Wales or Ireland. Here, the national team managers could assess players who might be considered suitable for a place in a future squad line-up or those players returning from injury that needed match practice as part of their rehabilitation.

The practice of organising inter-league matches began as early as the 1890’s and were in some instances just as popular as the full international games we know and love today. It wasn't uncommon for tens of thousands of people to pass through the turnstiles to see what was in essence an international match of sorts.

Sunday 2 June 2013

League of Blogs Top 3s + Sticker Update

The League of Blogs Sticker Album is complete!!!

Having spent all weekend putting it together, it's finally finished and is now uploading to the photo site to be ordered :)

As with last year, once all the entries were in, we chose our favourite three designs. This year we have split this into Badges and Kits...

But before we present those, a side note regarding the album, a word about stickers...

Saturday 1 June 2013

Badge Focus: Wolverhampton Wanderers

As mentioned on our recent podcast, we've been toying with the idea of bringing back Badge Focus, a feature that originally ran briefly on the blogsite Football Fairground. Well the good news is that Badge Focus is back, and we begin with Wolverhampton Wanderers as our subject...

The story starts in the 1970/71 season when Wolves first wore a proper badge on their old gold shirts for the first time. They'd worn the Wolverhampton coat of arms during the 1947/48 season, but the Molineux club opted to leave their shirts unadorned until the start of the 1970's when a new badge featuring a wolf leaping over the club's initials appeared in black.

This was an exciting time to be a Wolves fan. After something of a decline in the 1960's, manager Bill McGarry steered his team to a fourth place finish in Division One in 1970/71. The following season they reached the UEFA Cup Final, losing out eventually to Tottenham, and in 1974 Wolves won the League Cup Final.